Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kayaker daddy

After having to work all day, go shopping, go to get pictures that ended up running way late, eating a Quizno's sub for supper on the way home, 1 hour of saying "choo-choo"/ "theres a crack in the track Thomas" while driving Thomas and his 100 very expensive friends around a track, changing the youngest ones diapers and giving level 2 skills in walking classes....

Yah gotta fit in your interests somewhere!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Thats right folks we finally formalised ourselfs into a group. SUKIT (Society of United Kayakers In Trinity bay) is ramping up for another grand adventure. And by ramping up I mean we made a facebook group with some random thoughts and the largest discussion is if anyone would eat a green sea urchin.

Last year as you remember we paddled about 90 km around Irelands eye and surrounding are, got absolutely hammered pretty well every night and got caught up on al lthe gossip, the lifes we lead, and discussed everything from Resource based industry's recieveing bail out money to physic equations on forces exerted on of our co founders is a engineer.

View hopeall in a larger map

This year our plan is leave Hopeall bay head left for two days.....thats about all we got!
While the boats may change it's gonna be great to get out with the boys for a good trip. I figure if I hang out in level 3-4 conditions enough I wont have to bother getting actual training and can spend thousands on kit instead!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Death and tax's

About the only two certain things in life. And God knows after that work week I'm never in the know of what to expect next! Wow's work.

Anyway I got my administration to remove extra tax's this year, combined with having a few tax free months due to doing the governments bidding outside the country; I got a great little tax return.

So the money is in and the dry suit will be ordered here shortly! If I will ever get time to use it...we shall see.

Problem being I barely have time to sleep since I got back to work it seems. Good news being I may be sent back to New Brunswick this summer!! And I promise I will NEVER come back to Ontario again. Fingers crossed...please wish me luck, throw me in your religious rituals (not anything too crazy..I really don't wanna wake up on a alter somewhere.)

I finally got around to watching Paddle to Seattle last night with my wife. What a well done, excellent movie. I like the fact that these guys were novice paddlers, down to earth guys, and had a good laugh at it. Without spoiling it for yah here's the trailer. It is really worth watching.

Oh and yes folks; I am now among the elite as I am now a sponsored paddler. What does that really mean? Well for starters I can sit around the fire having a drink with the guys, and use phrases like "well my sponsors" " back before I was sponsored" and be a bit of a douche etc lol.

Sponsorship is something that I think paddling companies are bombarded with. Some companies took the time to write me back and say that they just couldn't, but enjoyed my letter. Some larger companies send the generic "Thank you for interest in our company" replies. I gotta say that bummed me out a little. However one letter from a larger company was....quite weird. Maybe it was a humour I didn't quite get...I dunno.

However I got through the "Support my expedition" filter with a bit of humour, and quickly responded to the smaller shops who wrote back telling me just how small their company actually is! Lot's of mom and pop businesses out there. I was just glad they got a laugh out of it. And really didn't want them to feel bad about not supporting the paddle to retirement expedition.

What else did it teach me? Put your money into the good companies. I have done sort of a market research to see what companies actually have a sense of humour. I will be supporting those for sure.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm departing on "Paddle to Retirement Expedition" 3886 days long.

I'm honestly a little sick stomach today. No it isn't a new strain of (insert animal) flu, more like the stressful thought of going back to work on Tuesday. No more week long excursions when I randomly pick dates off a calender, no more planning more than a day ahead, as my work tends to throw curve balls into planning.

So to take my mind off the feeling of puking and realizing my large expeditions that I dream of are on hold for a few years I decided I would start a expedition right now.

Paddle to Retirement expedition.

All my hero's have a whole side of their websites covered with sponsor logo's and get free kit. Well I figured what about me? What about the average guy?

I decided to write 13 companies to see if they want to support "The paddle to Retirement Expedition"

Dear uber awesome paddling kit company:

I have been looking in awe at your company logo's on many paddlers websites that are doing amazing feats like paddling around continents,
large islands,and inland sea's. I am a avid kayaker, I also have a full time job and a family. While I will never find time to do or train for such amazing adventures as these other outstanding paddlers; I do put off things like going to weddings,birthday parties, work social parties, and paddle solo while on vacation with family.

I spend the equivalent to the GDP of a small country annually on kayaking gear and clothing and gadgets. I'm currently searching for clothing to wear to a work function and cant seem to find something that doesn't have a burn hole from a flanker,was red and is now bleached pink, or has various stains such as tree sap, naphtha, or various food stains that are so well preserved they don't come out of clothing. However I have apparently failed to buy anything outside of my paddling kit mindset it appears in ...well... a while.

I run a small blog with about 50 visitors a day. Most working class kayakers such as myself. While we pay our mortgages, fill our environmentally friendly vehicles with our hard earned cash to burn.... we always put aside some of our hard earned money for your products. Meanwhile we see our kayak hero's receive free kit which we usually bookmark on our computers (which are old...but it was either a new computer or a new *insert product*) and salivate over it.

I was always told that "you have to work hard and nothing in life is free". However let's kick that to the side and call my working 6am to 6pm then paddling 20km "the Paddle to Retirement Expedition" which is 3886 days from the day I write this email. Who else do you know has paddled on a 3886 day expedition?

I paddle mostly in Newfoundland and Ontario Canada. However I do on occasion paddle in places such as Cyprus,the US, and Europe...when I can schedule in a kayak trip in during "work".

While you may just get a chuckle from this correspondence your probably wondering how to present this to the marketing department? Or get it to the head department past that guy who vett's all the incoming mail so the busy company CEO doesn't have to read all the customer requests; and complaints of how some product gave a guy in New Brunswick a rash.

- True testing provided by an average guy, which people can relate.
-My kit reviews have been well received from the companies I have reviewed prior.
-I get to keep my kidney. ( I heard something about it being worth 1000 bucks)

While mostly it will be weekends waking up on a beach, and paddling nighttime due to working extra hours at work behind a excel worksheet, and bringing my kids to the beach "swimming" so I can practice my roll's. My expedition also involves having huge arguments when I was suppose to be at place X for pick up and I decide I'm going to place Y...5 hours later...missing supper with my in-laws. However your gear will be well tested.

So send me some free kit every now and then. I'll test it out, write it up and give you ongoing feedback on your product. You logo will be placed on my blog as supporters of my expedition and you can advertise that you are a sponsor. Helping support the average guy into retirement...which is a heck of a long time away.

So please consider sponsoring the "Paddle to Retirement" expedition.

Solo Paddler,Husband,Father,blogger,paddle addict.
Lee Gilbert

Should be interesting to see the responses at least. And maybe it will give someone a chuckle in their office. And who knows maybe I'll get some free kit!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pre order of Paddle to seattle on it's way!

There are not many things I pre order in life. Pizza on occasion. However for movies this has to be a first. I'm 100% behind supporting anyone trying to etch out a living in the kayak film industry. However personality is a HUGE deciding factor for me supporting someone.

Anyway these two dudes come across to me as down to earth guys you would hang out with.

I'm honestly excited to sit down and watch this one.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kayaking Georgian bay

View georgian bay in a larger map

***Bloggers note: This is a rehash of my Georgian bay trip. It was posted up as a generic TR which didn't really do the trip justice. So by email request from some of the people following, here it is. Glad to get your email and comments, at least I know I aint talking to myself in cyberspace! Hope you enjoy.***

We didn't have much of a plan.

In fact most of the whole planning process was focusing on what days we could go. Unfortunately I had to get tested for tuberculous from another adventure...which was something I really didn't want to put off any longer, as I had already rescheduled once. Other trippers from our club had work commitments, family plans among other things. Finally we narrowed down 5 days on Georgian bay with the first day and final day part of our short travel.

I met Charles at our RV in Eganville On, and loaded up my kayak and kit. We had paddled together in the past and figured why bring my SUV along when we could just split the gas and make for a even cheaper trip. Darryl and Mike arrived to the parking lot adjacent to the German restaurant. We discussed the route up and were quickly on our way up highway 60 through Algonquin park. Every drop of water along the way was highly populated with canoes and kayaks. We discussed how crazy we thought it was that someone would pay so much money to paddle in such a overly populated area along highway 60. Here we were going on a 5 day trip that would prove inspiring; all for about 40 dollar's in total.

We arrived around noon at the marina in Dillon On. Parking costs 5 dollars, which buy's you buy peice of mind that your vehicle isn't towed of stolen during your trip. As we loaded the boats on the dock we all took turns looking at the maps and deciding a plan. All four of us were pretty open to where ever someone wanted to go. My only goal was to reach Big McCoy island sometime during the trip. Darryl suggested we head for Stoll Island where he and another paddler had stayed the previous summer.

Soon enough all the vehicles were parked, the kayak packed, and we were waterborne. Heading North west to Stoll.

Along the route to Stoll I was amazed by the sheer amounts of islands and "cabins". I also unimpressed by the amount of seadoo's, boats,and overall human intrusion. One thing was different though from my other travels within cottage country, these people were slowing down when coming near us and most were waving.
I guess if you own a cottage on one of these islands, and a seadoo, and your wife is...well let's just say the peoples life looked just groovy and they were very friendly!

As we approached Hertzsberg island and got out of the cottage build up, I was finally feeling happy. Hertzsberg island was huge with many little islands surrounding it's shores. As we approached stoll island we noticed a little black bear rummaging through a campsite. I guess the last people there were not to particular about food scraps. This worried me as usually bears with that much association with human+camps= food are usually bolder. Thus the poor things end up either mauling someone or getting killed due to human fault. We hauled in and watched him for a bit, he didn't seem to care that we were 15 feet from him.

We rounded the island and headed into our chosen camp. A beautiful little spot in a small channel. The camp had a small table and a fire pit and a wonderful flat landing spot. We quickly settled into camp; and were in bed quite early.

The next morning I awoke to the heat inside my tent and as per I had slept in quite a bit. However by the time I was packed up I still had loads of time to wait for everyone to get ready. While I am always the last outta the tent, I'm usually the first ready. Darryl had discovered a huge hole in his brand new sleeping pad and was going to call it quits. He was heading to the Saguenay anyway the following week. We bid him farewell and were on our way.

We rafted up back in the Hertsburg eastern channel and decided we would head north for a bit, cross over middle channel and out into hopefully large water. Mike had said from when he was here last that the waves were normally around the 1-2 meter mark on nice days. On our way up we checked out a old steamship wreck who's boiler was sticking out of the water. It was painted white and used as a channel marker.This was the wreck of the Metamora.

The Metamora was built in 1864 for use as a gunboat on the great lakes. In the early 1870's it was reverted to a passenger ship, and ferried people around Georgian Bay. It burned and sank on July 30, 1907.

As we paddled through the middle channel...... I was very unimpressed. Cottages that had boat sheds that dwarfed my home, and ton's on traffic.The only thing that was missing from city life was traffic lights. We soon broke out onto the open Georgian bay south of McReynolds point. Absolutely beautiful. We stopped on some reef's for lunch that were breathtaking. Only about 2 inch's out of the water and sitting in 10-30 feet of water at the edges. Charles and I quickly took out our snorkeling gear and dove in.Then it happened.

I don't know what combination of things caused my brain to do something it never has. Weither it was the luke warm water, the cooling effect the water had from paddling all morning,the quiet peace below the water.I really don't know. However I dove down as deep as I could and at about 15 feet below and popped my ears. I stretched out my arms and slowly floated up. I had a huge feeling of inner peace. No work, no bickering,no bad thoughts crossed my mind or soul. For about 40 seconds I reveled in the feeling of total inner peace. Once at the surface I sat quietly and ate my pistacho nuts for lunch. What had just happened? Being a very secular person I wondered if this is the moments people claim to have found jesus or other deity?

Soon enough we were on our way north to Point aux Baril. There was a old lighthouse there open to the public certain times of the year. The waves were a small 1m swell and we played around finding paths through the reefs that seemed to stretch all the way north. Soon enough the beautiful lighthouse came into view, we docked at the wharf and went up for a look.

The older couple working there were some of the nicest people I had ever met in Ontario. A husband and wife crew, the older lady was one of the actual last lighthouse keepers back in the 80's. They now worked as light house interpreters for the tourists.They answered all our questions and were interested in what area we had come from in the kayaks and where we were heading.

There was a beautiful picture hanging in the lighthouse that said "may the great spirit cause his sunshine to light your path with beauty". Kind of a fitting message for that day.

We left in good spirits and headed back south to our next camp on Wade island. We made the crossing open in the bay. Waves were increasing but didn't exceed 1.5m. However paddling close to the submerged reefs the waves pushed up to 2m in places.We again played in the reefs along the way and had a bit of fun where the swell pushed into the small openings. There was two standing waves we had to head out over putting the boats underwater slightly. We had been hoping for some large waves, but it stayed nice and calm unfortunately.

At sunset we pulled into Wade island for the night. The landing was rough and we helped each other lift our kayaks up over the rocky shoreline. We had seen a bear on the island next to us when we hauled in but it had appeared he had headed south and left.

This campsite didn't have much except of a fire ring and a commanding view west to the sunset. We sat back and enjoyed the scenery with supper. We talked about enjoying the current pace we had set. A relaxing 20-35km a day with a long lunch rest somewhere. I hauled out my Samsung YP3 which I take to supplement my ipod touch as it has a FM radio. What happened next was like something off Gilligan's island. I told the boy's I'd check the forecast for tomorrow, and as soon as I turned the thing on to the easy listening rock station that carried the weather " Weather for the area tonight....." is this thing powered by coconuts too?!! Looked like more sun! Mike turned on his VHF radio and the water report was calling for 1m or less.

Earlier I had told the boys I had heard something in behind our camp when we hauled in. However from rabbits to grouse sometimes small cracks seem larger in the bush.
We were all sitting around and the sun had just set. Mid conversation Mike shouts BEAR!!! It had wandered right up on us without us noticing; within 20 feet Mike. As soon as we stood up the bear bolted back towards the channel that he must have swam across. I threw large rocks in his direction in some primitive defense stance. Hoping the bouncing of the rock on rock would give him more reason to keep running. We settled in for the night and instead of lying there listening to every little crack in the wood line I put my earphones in and fell asleep to the "cottage country unoffensive radio station", who were playing such greats as Paul Anka,Anne Murray ballads and Tom Jones melodies. I was however hoping if I got ate our mauled to death, I wouldn't leave the earth listening to" puppy love".

Next morning we awoke to a thick fog. Our dry bags full of food were unharmed and still hanging in the tree which was a little surprising. Our plan was to cross to Big McCoy just off to our south west set up our camp and then day trip from there to the Limestone islands. We waited for the fog to dissipate but it still hadn't at 10h00 so we shot a bearing and headed out. It was pretty thick but soon enough we had Big McCoy in sight. As we rounded the southern tip we noticed the two camps there were occupied. My heart sunk a little.

This was apparently the meeting ground for the natives. The large open area inside the treeline on the south would hold the important meetings between the tribes. As we paddled in the people in the western camp came down to say hello. They told us they were leaving later that morning so we paddled off to North limestone planning on a return in the early afternoon to secure our camp.

The limestone islands are about a 5km openwater crossing. One thing I absolutely hate is large water crossings. I find them soooooooo boring, I find myself counting paddle strokes and pushing a little harder just to get it done and over with. On our crossing we could see a coast guard ship heading north across our path. The water was flat calm and suddenly the ships wake came. It was about 3m and the biggest wave we saw all trip we had a bit of fun trying to catch up with the other one but were at Limestone island before we did.

The beach on the North Limestone island reminded me of Newfoundland. All fist sized rounded gray rocks. When we pulled in a man and woman were just leaving in their tandem kayak. We made a bit of small talk about the "divorce boat" and talked about each others trips and they were on their way. We hung out for a bit and ate lunch there. Boats were coming and going the whole time with people walking around with their dogs checking out the island. Quickly we were on our way back towards the McCoys.

I opened my kayak up and pulled ahead of the other guys who were taking their time. I think they understood my hate for crossings. I hauled into south west island and sat adoring the reef's. It was honestly feeling like vacation. I jogged to the top of the little rise on the island and took a pic of the guys coming in. Soon enough I was snorkeling around the reefs and cooling off from the sprint across the water on such a hot sunny day. Charles started diving around too and Mike set off exploring the islands.

We sorta drifted apart at this point agreeing to meet back to big McCoy later. The north part of these island chains is beautiful. Long deep channels running everywhere to explore. Some channels got so thin at places you had to make a run at it then put the boat up on edge to squeeze through.

We spent the rest of the day messing about here. On my way past Langridge island I noticed a sign not allowing camping and day use only. Although we were being responsible about garbage pick up and adhering to the GLSKA volunteer fire ban (if they made it mandatory ....I might have had a fire!) I know that not all campers are as careful with their surroundings and could understand the no camping at least on a few islands.

Big McCoy was a great site. We picked the furthest west site and the eastern site was vacant as well. There were stone picnic tables built there with seats.

The only thing I was pissed above was the location of the thunderbox on the eastern site. It was located right on the edge of the native meeting area in the treeline. Basically you could use the thunderbox with your feet in the opening. Not cool IMHO. There were hundreds of better spots that wouldn't be so disrespectful. The meeting place was pretty cool. Your imagination could view what it must have looked with two tribes meeting here. I truly believe people should treat these places like anyone would treat a church in modern society.

The kayaker who was camping earlier on the eastern site hauled in, but quickly left when he seen our presence and headed towards the Mink's without a wave or anything. My first thought....... stoned out of his tree and paranoid. Just my interpretation. Maybe he was anthropophobic....I dunno .

The sunset was awesome and as soon as the sun went down the moon rose in the east. We commented on the awesome weather and that even the heavenly bodies in the sky seemed to work out perfect for this trip. I had a half a flask of vodka left and decided to shoot the whole thing. Sat around shot the shit and off to bed. The screams of Mr/ Mccoy (who was apparently murdered by the natives he ripped off in trade) didn't come out during our full moon in September stay. Sounds like a fun thing for someone to do to other campers during a full moon in September however!

The next morning we sat around the map and figured we would just set a rendezvous point at the south tip of Franklin island. This way it allowed all of us to make our own day plan and paddle at the speed and area we wished.

We all took off with Mike heading out into the 2m waves on the western side of the Mink's while Charles and I headed down to paddle in around the islands. It was awesome! The islands make these excellent channels throughout the chain. We would go play in the open swell for a bit then head back into any new open channels we found.

There was breaking 1m waves inside the island chains when Charles called over to me "is that a canoe?" pointing south. Sure enough off in the distance we could make out two torso's paddling. I am far from a canoeist but it didn't seem like a great day to be out in one.

The Minks had quite a few cabins but the geography and small water trails made up for the human intrusion. Once we broke out of the Mink's we had Red rock lighthouse in sight. Apparently red rock had to be rebuilt many times due to the harsh area it's located. We could see Mike's paddle flashing in the sun to the south so off we went and crossed over to check out the lighthouse. When we got there we ran into the tourist boaters who were absolutely plastered. We made a quick circle around the rock and headed off for Franklin island.

Franklin was our last camp. We had planned on camping at a site recommended by Mike on the southern tip of the island, however the whole island was absolutely packed. Between motorboats, yachts and sailboats, and what appeared to be either kayak tour groups or kayak clubs we were forced to be within earshot of many other camps.However it set us up for a easy paddle back to the vehicles the next day.

We chose a site on Lenice island just offshore from Franklin. We quickly set up and enjoyed the afternoon swimming and snorkeling between our camp and a small rock of a island in front of it. While swimming I looked south and seen a huge Laker boat coming up the coast. We debated going to surf the wake...but decided to hang out and relax on our last day.

For the duration of our trip on Georgian bay I didn't stake my tent in or use rocks to tie it down. That night I was awoke by the splashing of waves at my vestibule and my tent flattened on one side around my body. At first I just ignored it but then I thought about the kayaks. Although we had them hauled up I am uber paranoid about losing my boat. Of course being quite groggy as I stepped out of my tent......and it quickly took flight. My ninja like reflexes grabbed it just in time. I set the narrow end of my tent into the wind and it seemed to work.

The next morning we sat around and drank coffee delaying the departure, I didnt want it to end honestly. The weather of the night before had subsided and it was glass calm and sunny. We really lucked out weather wise on this trip. I got naked and jumped in the small bathtub type pool aside of our camp. No point in stinking up the next subway we stop at on our way home.

A short paddle later we were back in Dillon and loaded up. Overall this was the best kayak trip so far. Great guys, great weather and a great area. No fee's except parking, food, and gas to get there.

Respect the area, treat it as your own. If we all exercise some common sense it will be a great free place for our children to enjoy in the same pristine condition we were given it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ms. Helen Skelton

I have no idea what a" blue skeleton" is. However here is Helen Skelton and she's currently heading down the amazon river for a UK charity called sports relief. Now I know there's some bickering in the kayak community about "that's not a record" and dude's claiming to have done it in 22hours ( as they type sitting in their underwear eating doritos).

I don't know much about the Guinness book, except it has really really fat people in it, and my cousin was in it during the 80's as strongest woman (little useless family info for yah!) And frankly I could care less if she gets a record or not, let's look at the challenge she has set out for herself!! FOR CHARITY!!!

Facts are:
-She's paddled 1,000 miles now in 3 weeks doing up to 75 miles a day.
-She's a cute woman in a kayak ( two of my favorite things in life.)
-She is doing it for a great cause.

I also love the fact that she's not a level 18 master I mean kayak instructor. A mere novice. And I think that angers some types of people out there as well. I personally love it.

I for one am applauding her and the charity. Well done so far Ms Skelton!!! 1000miles down only 1000 more to go!

Editors note: Blue skeleton is a kids show. Another great thing. She takes time during paddling to film about the amazon. Who knows maybe she will inspire many kids to get out there in the wild places,protect the wildplaces, and become great eco friendly kayakers of the future.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kabloona in a yellow kayak

I really don't even know where to start with this one. I hated this book, I liked this book,and hated it again. And overall I closed the cover on the ending relieved I was finished. This was the hardest book about kayaking I have ever tried to read.

The good:

Victoria rolled with the weather and treated the Inuit very well. She listened to their advice and took it very seriously. Her descriptions of the land, weather, and surroundings, were so good I could picture it. She seemed very in tune to her surroundings. I like her laid back approach to extended tripping.

The bad:

The persistent need to shit all over Don Starkell in what seemed to be every paragraph.....even when she was writing about journeying on her own years later! It honestly ruined the book for me. As you know paddle to the arctic written by Don Starkell covers part of Kabloona in a yellow kayak, as Don took her on his expedition as a novice kayaker.

Don does not disagree that there was conflict, however he also doesn't reference it over and over and over and over and over and over and over...(that should illustrate how frustrating it was to read). MY GOD!!! I was honestly going to put the book down and not even bother finishing it. I was really hoping after the first half of the book where her and Don part ways that the constant jabs at Don Starkell would stop. No such luck. It continued throughout the book.

Personal conflict is going to happen. However I really wished she took Don approach and left the constant little bickering out,but still conveyed that there were arguments.

There were a few arguments that bugged me after reading Paddle to the amazon,Paddle to the Arctic first then this book.

-Victoria exploding about her father yelling at her when Don yelled at her. Don didn't have parents. Don didn't mention this to her, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.

-Bitching about Don not wanting to set up in the sand. He was sick and tired of sand from his South America trip. I can sympathize with him, as we all make our decisions on things we have learned to love and to hate in life. And sand in everything really does suck.

-An argument about her jumping around playing with the kids and running around prior to their big pull of the kayaks on the ice. Don told her to save the energy...she came back with a snippy response. Later Don was hauling her puk on the ice.

-Her argument with Don about handing stuff out to the Inuit that they had paid to take them across the ice on snowmobiles. What she doesn't mention in her book (or Don in his) is that Don noticed she also gave away his knife to the Inuit.

In a interview with Che-Mun Don shows a clearer picture.

"I respect her for her first year but the second year something went to her head. . . I didn't read her book entirely but there's one thing that really bugs me. I gave her a presentation knife that the Russell knife people gave to me. Victoria didn't have a decent knife so I gave her this knife and told her to respect it and take care of it 'cause it means a lot to me. I was up there two days with her and after we had to take the snowmobile lift I noticed that the Inuk who was driving had the same exact knife. She had given it to him as a gift. I couldn't believe it."

Don doesn't go into argument details in his book like Victoria does, so it's very easy for some to write Don off as a cruel mean person that no one would want to travel with. However once Don explains this it provides a clearer picture of his "cruelty" doesn't it? I think so anyway.

After paying the men; then Vicky giving away his valued knife...I would be pissed off and not in a very giving mood either.

Now don't get me wrong there was things that Don did that I woulda snapped at. However Victoria painted her self as flawless and Don as a monster. I didn't like it. There are two sides to every story. Just so happens Don doesn't focus his book around their arguments. He does admit fault in some arguments in his own book.

Personally I think the details of all the arguments took away from her journey's story. This was a very strong woman who came quite a ways in a short amount of time. However the constant shitting on Don made the book feel like a vendetta a ex girlfriend would publish after a really bad break up. I think if she stayed to just mentioning it here and there and not rambling on forever about it;the book would have been amazing.

Things like wet kotext pad's, running out of pads, threat of rape, missing grand kids is somethings I have not seen in a kayaking book before. And it was something I never really thought about for obvious reasons. Interesting to see a totally different view point.

On some discussions reference this book I see people commenting on this as a guide for "how not to kayak trip" etc. I wonder how many of these people have as many KM in dangerous waters behind them as Vicky does? No she wasn't a level 4 paddle Canada coach, she didn't know what a brace was (I enjoyed the fact those guys got mauled by a griz =0) I won't ruin it for you) and is still more accomplished than many Canadian paddlers today.

Victoria Jason was a wonderful woman. I sure do share her passion for the wild places, her belief of going with nature and not against it, and absolute respect and awe for others cultures.A wonderful woman who accomplished quite a feat.

Unfortunately Victoria Jason passed away in 2000 with family by her side. No matter how far north she was paddling she was always thinking of them.

A great paddler and a great Canadian.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Panic and planning. How about a attitude change for safety.

Two words: Swine flu. It caused such a panic here in Canada. People lining up for hours to try and get the secret serum. Why? Main stream media and their very few stories of a few Canadians that died from the flu strand. The media of course would never publish a story of 200,000 get swine flu and live. Death, panic,fear sells.

I have found myself posting the same sort of thing lately like my hypothermia post, and I have a rough draft of living with the mighty black bear while out there kayaking done up as well.

In a way I guess it really isn't the same as MSM, and most of the writing on disaster and fear in the kayaking community is a way we plan for disaster. Thus in most cases preventing danger or minimizing the risk or effects of things in our wild environment on our health.

What I want to focus on today is something a little more relaxing. Something I have never really read about on kayaking blogs.

Now my family has been living in Trinity bay since 1641. I am a bit obsessed about Newfoundland culture and history as a result. After reading "Newfoundland and Labrador Prehistory by James A Tuck I couldn't help but think...if these native explorers spent hundred years living on our shores without freeze dried meals, Northface jackets, or twitter; is our coastline really that unforgiving? If it was why would they bother to live there? Or is it a very loving providing area. Are our ideals of the dangerous seas influenced by our seafaring forefathers? Who unlike the natives were forced into the deadly storms to hunt seals and catch fish to sell; out of fear of not providing the merchant with enough faggots of cod at seasons end. Going into danger out of fear of not being able to feed his family through the coming winter with the exchange.

The dependency between our Newfoundland forefathers and the natives that inhabited the land was one of the sea. However the natives were more in harmony with the sea than us for the basic reason that they got substance directly from the sea. We however were depending on the sea so we could sell the catch to eat, and dependent on merchants to provide a fair trade for food. Which is a different topic all together.

While I was camping this summer in Newfoundland I was sitting on the thoroughfare eating porkchops and potatoes and onions fried up. For a bit of fun and maybe even a trip back to our childhood we took turns jigging conners and sculpins from a rock in front of our camp we caught one with almost very cast.

There were crabs we could see down among the seaweed and a plethora of other wildlife, green sea urchins (Hosey or osey eggs), mussels, snails, seaweed. Just up on the bank where our tents were set was an abundance of black currents,mint berries (which look identical to ant eggs), blue berries. The little boggy area off to the west had Labrador tea growing and if you wanted a different tasting tea there were a few spruce trees to be found as well.

While the water was very iron stained from running through marshland, it was potable and in constant supply.

And once you look at that food supply, let's add some snare wire. Suddenly your food supply is very sustainable.

The sea around Newfoundland is not dangerous, it isn't scary,and it sure isn't a spot where someone would starve to death. What is dangerous is people who cannot read the water, their ability,and try to take on the sea instead of (pardon the pun) "going with the flow" of the sea. As the disconnect from the wild becomes more and more evident in the generations to come we are going to see more people in trouble in kayaks. Reading weather is something that many kayakers depend on VOCM for during trips or VHF radios. Or some text message set up. Fact is none of it is needed and you can get a great weather report on knowing the sky. (More on this in a future post)

The smart kayaker can take a peek around a headland and realize (much as the natives of our land did) that the sea is either gonna say yes or no to your further travel. While our kayaking skill will determine the gray areas in between her saying "yes" and "no", having a respect and a non conquering attitude will get us just as far ahead. Maybe a few days later,but much more relaxed and in tune with the environment around us.

The sea along Newfoundlands coastline is very providing. Fear yourself more than the sea.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So a large expedition style trip has been gnawing at me for a year now. While 2021 seems far off now I'm sure it will be here in a few mere seconds, as lately time just seems to fly by (what happened to 2000-2010??)

I had thought about circumnavigating Newfoundland, however the more I read,see, hear Labrador has drawn me in. Population density is much much smaller. As well it then leaves Newfoundland for me to enjoy at my pleasure as after 2021 I am never working again...unless it involves kayaking.

Above is a panoramic from my buddy John.

While not in the same part of Labrador as the above picture, a new national park has been announced.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Irelands eye Trinity bay NL

When I started this blog I wanted to keep things very robotic. A mere map, with a description and pictures embedded.I came up with the blog idea while trying to find information on the areas I was paddling, and found nothing. So I figured if there is no info there on the web, I'll start adding info to hopefully help people during their planning of future trips.

I actually got lazy (as dealing with the code was a pain) and posted a few trip reports in a written out way, with personal input. I began to get a lot more comments, people started joining/following and I got many emails asking me about certain areas. I then decided to carry on with a personal story type of a trip report.

And now looking back some of the great trips I done, with great personal stories are not given justice in the old format.Like the link below.

Now these old reports are linked to many outdoors websites, so I have to keep them up to hopefully help some people out. (This is the reason I don't have my bloglist of my favs blogs located on the make the interactive maps I had to widen the code, and now there is no room to put em!)

Anyway here is a trip report I done up for on that trip to Ireland's eye Newfoundland.

Hope you enjoy. I have a ton of trips from NFLD to post yet.

Irelands eye trip report

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Almost got suckered in....almost.

So as anyone in the paddling addiction knows advertisement is key. Heck I truly believe if someone had a surplus of neon green and pink jackets from the 80's, all you would have to do is put it on a paddler doing a expedition and everyone (including myself) would think about buying it.

It's sick!

Now I'm far from a brand snob, but I do believe in buying good quality gear. Heck I could have bought a dry suit today however I was convinced by my financial adviser..who strangely enough lives in the far realms of my mind; that I would wait until I had cash to buy one a little more expensive. (I cant WAIT to get that April!)

Editors note: My adviser is a little guy with black rimmed glasses and one of those calculators with the paper that comes out of.His office is located on the second floor in the anterior insula. He usually just shakes his head no or gives a stern look and doesn't speak much...much like a ex girlfriend of mine.. . And his name is Bill.

Anyway everyone I see in the paddling community is wearing Northface. Everyone. Anytime I look at a blog of an accomplished paddler, or watch a documentary on paddling there it is. In turn every time I go paddling everyone is wearing at least one piece of northface clothing. I even commented that one of my paddling buddies looked like he fell in a bucket of Northface...he truly did!

So anyway I was looking to buy something today...just one of those days. So I dropped by the northface website. Free shipping on orders over 100 bucks caught my eye right away...that's not bad!

However free shipping on a pair of socks and a toque...not such a great deal for 100 bucks!

Now maybe half of all profits goes to feeding a dragon so it doesn't attack a Asian village, I really haven't researched why these things are so expensive. Maybe the wool is made from some rare beetle who produces 30 cm of wool a year.

However a toque for 44.99???!!!???

And this one dam near killed me. I am a fan of plaid. It's something every bayman has. Heck in N.B add a tie and it's a wedding suit (jk!). Infact two days ago we were shopping around and found a bunch of plaid tops on sale for 3 bucks each. 100% wool and very soft.

Above: 3 dollars

And my trusty "I'm "head banging" with long hair to even flow by pearl jam or Nirvana"jacket circa 1992....which I took from my dad who bought it in the 80's..

Then the northface version: Plaid 64.99.....

I have posted here my purchase blunders in the kayaking field in many posts before this. My purchase failure is usually due to poor research on my part.

That plaid jacket is
Fabric: Yarn-dye flannel 100% cotton

Which even the old one from the 1980's is. You can still read the tag somehow!

Now having said all that I know North face sponsors many paddle expeditions. And that's awesome. I respect any companies who do so. And honestly I'm more akin to buy the products I see advertised as part of an expedition. However clothing? Not so much.

I don't think Northface is gonna send me a pile of free clothing to try out and become a convert on all my expedition trips. Heck I doubt I'll get a 20 dollar walmart card as sponsorship honestly.

Spending that kind of money on a hat and a plaid jacket is beyond my realm of thinking. I have a wonderful toque and a plaid jacket that ran me 8 bucks total.

Why is everyone in the paddling community obsessed with Northface? I have never tried the stuff...but 100% cotton is 100% cotton..64.99 or 3 dollars? I can't grasp it.

This does explain why everyone in downtown Ottawa looked like they were about attempt to reach gigantic summit as I drove through last week....this clothing is freaking expensive!

North water Sea tec padle float kit review

I picked this paddle float up earlier this year after having issues with another blow up type of paddle float during practice. At first I was unsure if I would buy it due to it's bulky size for storage inside my cockpit, however after looking at some of the features I decided on this float.

When I got the paddle float home I quickly noticed it would be a pain to store anywhere inside my cockpit. I didn't like the thought of having it stored on my deck as it would affect my roll's and catch the energy from a wave high on my deck. Or so I thought anyway. Being warm out when I bought it capsizing wasn't a concern....and rather a nice way to cool off anyway!

As you can see in the picture above both sides have adjustable straps for attaching to the deck bungees. I decided to put it aft deck, as anytime I was out of my boat I usually would approach from the rear. (note: it made the cowboy reentry uncomfortable, but didn't impede it really. The straps on both sides also give one great little tool. You can slide your paddle inside wrap the closest strap around your paddle blade; then un hook the other side.

Downfall would be during icy conditions trying to undo two frozen straps could be a bit of a time waste.

As you can see it has reflective tape on both sides which at night shows you where the paddle blade pockets are.There are two separate pockets on both sides which allow access from each side, without the blade sliding all the way through.

Inside is a semi rigid foam. I have seen others who have bent it around their deck in front of their hatch, so it does have some play in movement.

Here's how I stored mine on multiday trips. Even with crashing waves I didn't feel the energy transfer on or over the back deck as I had thought. And during rolls it didn't move or impede it.

Original float. Sewn seal.


Paddle float re-entry.

I am very happy with this purchase. The float also works as a great seat on some rocks or even a spare log to roll a really heavy kayak over a rocky landing. Works great for practicing hand rolling. The price is a little steep, however for the abuse I have put this thing through torture and it's unreal how tough it is.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heading back to work...

Mom would be proud of this pic.

This past year has been a great year. Basically I had the freedom to wake up pretty well when I wanted. Plans? Basically were dictated by the weather or posts on a club message board about a trip from date X to date Y.

My work has already been calling to ensure I was good to go on yet another course in New Brunswick, to ensure I know I'm working the first weekend back etc. Now I love my job, I really do. However the thought of giving up the perfect freedom I had these past 12 months is a little depressing to say the least.

Now my job offers a great deal of adventure and excitement, heck that's the only reason I decided on that path and left home at 17. There are many days behind excel documents where I would sooner be stabbed to death with a blunt object than input one more number in the flowing sea of white boxes; but hey it's not all fun and adventure.

For the next ten years my kayaking will be affected by much more than the wind,rain,storms. My job involves a lot of international travel, from the middle east, Europe and god knows where else.... sometimes on VERY short notice...I.E your leaving in 3 days =0)

However the thing about kayakers is it sure comes off as a lifestyle. You end up paddling with Bankers,cook's, politicians,Priests. Yet they all seem to fit kayaking into their busy lifes.

No different than myself.

I'm the guy with the funny helmet.

That's my other adrenaline addiction.